Dappled Cities

w/ Lawrence Leung, Luke Perillo, Skye Kennewells, Benedict Hardie and more.

What a nice idea…


If I were to get all band savvy and be so clever as to write music worth listening to, I would have like-minded arty folk smear themselves all over it and tell me how delicious I was in paint and ink format. Yep, that's what I would do.


Dappled Cities have completed their third album and about to embark on their national Wall of Zounds tour, before heading over to Asia and beyond. But before such grandeur, they set aside a night to play in a large storage facility in the factory district of Richmond.


The idea being that artists would have their own storage lock-up to install a piece inspired by a specific Dappled Cities song. It was an interesting idea and it worked quite well.


Being greeted with free beer and wine is always a cheerful beginning, with plenty of time to get slightly tipsy and mill about the space, appreciating the different mediums and interpretations of the music. And it was indeed varied. Some of the more memorable were: Lawrence Leung's Answer is Zero, with flesh and blood models impaled upon computer mouse curses. Or the delightful The Night is Young at Heart by Luke Perillo, with little windmills moving almost in time to the music by a small rotating fan. But my favourite by far was Skye Kennewell's, Kid. This required walking through a tiny half constructed hallway to find architectural sketches and designs, each as intricate as they were beautiful.


On a less positive stance there was the obligatory performance art piece: Stepshadows by Benedict Hardie. Perhaps it is the bias fact that I generally loath performance art, but it really was an eye-roller. There will never be an appropriate time for slow motion cowboys. Also curling my lip was Lara Cooper's Middle People. I found it a poor attempt at 'street art cool', however my respective plus one disagreed and found it to be "pretty rad".


With time for sneaky cigarettes whilst watching the sun set over tin roofs, the small cluster of well-dressed twenty somethings casually circled around the relaxed staging to hear Dappled Cities play their short and to the point set.


Their sound is very Brit Pop. Extremely Brit Pop. Even their skinny jeans and army jacket combos reeked of the Kaiser Chiefs. So much so that their unnatural movements seemed to be carefully reconstructed from every Oasis gig they have lined up to see. This was distracting from what was otherwise an impressive set. Their songs are catchy and their instruments carried effortlessly through the space. Throughout the set I had an itching feeling that they were miming, naturally they were not, and so I mean this a compliment.


Although this meant it lacked a sense of freedom and spontaneity, it was a clear indication of how tight and professional these musicians are. Perfectly aligned with each other and making music seem incredibly easy. This being said, it was unfortunately broken up with banter that fell short of witty and just sort of milled about in the kinda uncomfortable region.


It was a very pleasant early evening, and not at all what I expected. It had tones of sophistication. It was brightly lit and attended by a surprisingly small group. It was promptly ended at 7pm by an unhospitable, middle-aged factory worker who only just stopped short of dragging girls out of the loos mid stream. I had to wait until dinner to 'go'. It was sober and clean-cut without the hickeys of a trendy scattered about your persons and the threateningly frayed recollections of vomit and disapproving looks. I dare say I care for this lack of decadence, and I dare say I care for Dappled Cities.

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